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Resolution! 2004

Device Dance: ‘Underneath – Emerging – Revealing’; Charlotte Eatock: 'Temporary Slaughter’; Trinity Dance Project: 'Archipelago’

by Thea Nerissa Barnes

19 January 2004 – The Place, London

Device Dance: ‘Underneath – Emerging – Revealing’ by Daniel Vais and danced by Vais, Fumi Tomioka, and Hiromi Ishikawa.

Crouched over with arms out reaching and hands moving like antenna or pincers, three figures enter in their own time from both sides of the stage. 6 neon tubes gradually getting brighter, 3 lying on either side of the stage make the space seem small and vacuous at the same time. The mood is quiet but strained making the stillness rather uneasy. The three dancers crept into spatial patterns, meetings and passings that were complimented by the slow reveal of the cyc.

The cyc turned from a blue to a glaring white glow. The movement by each dancer was individualistic -- each separate expression an indication of their shared movement vocabulary, their shared significations that resolved into an ensemble stance. This mutated into a promenade by each dancer on his or her self and along a circle formation, the gestures returning to the opening movement expression and ending in darkness. This dance inspired by Butoh seemed in search of itself and pretended to be something that at this point in time it could only imitate and not quite actualise. Trapped and confined by numerous unseen barriers, even the lights, especially on the floor, seemed to clutter what professed to be clean and clear.

”Temporary Slaughter” by Charlotte Eatock and danced by Sarah Labigne, Beth Lewis, Sarita Piotrowski, and Marit Velle Kile.

A fascination that the word “slaughter” with a slip of the letter “s” becomes laughter is the starting point for this dance that plays with opposites, happy/sad or joy/pain. A bit whimsical and young, this work is a good start for a choreographer who has a good go at tying dance with elements of drama and comedy. With the mixture of music, classical and pop, the telling of an incident in a movie, shouting matches and the wonderful projection of a woman’s face, juxtaposition seems the target that is lost and found.

Trinity Dance Project: “Archipelago” by Allan Balfour and danced by Nicholas Norman, Gerrard Martin, Ivan Martinez Moreno, Damian Winter-Higgins, Kristine Pedersen, Kerry-Ann Henry, and Anna G. Jansson.

The dancers of Trinity Dance Project through Allan Balfour’s direction presented sketches of their combined lived experiences of the Caribbean landscape. This was an episodic work with 3 sections; ensemble phrases, a charming duet, an agile solo that culminated into verbal significations by members of the Project that hinted to varied cultural identities. Within these sections were numerous cameo solos and duets that gave the work texture and a fair amount of depth.

The dancers’ performance was spirited and technically astute. The movement vocabulary being a manipulation of contemporary, ballet, and Caribbean dance forms, placed the work in a modern, expressionistic vein. The work had its own message of diversity, prowess, and captivation. Ensemble movement illustrated individualist as well as group power, camaraderie and moments of contemplation. Invisible adversaries were either illustrative of an individual or group inner turmoil or imaginatively situated downstage left.

One section used a knotted rope, a metaphor for bondage or boundaries, that the dancers as protagonists easily surmounted. The sticky points were the transitions between sections that amounted to disruptions and the rope that was used with some level of importance but appeared then disappeared with no consequence. Still this one prop and designed lighting spots by Humphrey McDermott captured each dancer in a position of vulnerability or tenacity, and hinted to cultural significations that were noticed or subliminally felt. These moments pointed to a revisionist type resistance. At its most joyous though there was turmoil and, as the work ended with a defiant statement of all members of the Project facing the audience, there was still a good bit of gleeful exuberance.

Edited by Jeff.

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